KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia opened higher on the last trading day of 2018, in line with its Asian peers, and supported mainly by window dressing activities amid thin holiday season trading.
At 9.01 am, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) gained 1.23 points to 1,693.30 from Friday’s close of 1,692.07.
The index opened 1.69 points stronger at 1,693.76.
Market breadth was positive, as gainers thumped losers 95 to 28, while 98 counters were unchanged, 1,652 untraded and 44 others suspended.
Turnover stood at 34.21 million shares worth RM9.15 million.
However, the opening number for today was slightly lower as compared to that on the last trading day of 2017 (Dec 29) at 1,780.90.
Oanda Head of Trading Asia-Pacific Stephen Innes said towards end-2018, Asian stocks climbed higher in tracking the positive news on the US-China trade war update.
It was reported that US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping on Saturday, had discussed trade issues, whereby both are expected to negotiate a win-win agreement.
“Basically 2018 saw the global growth slowdown with equity markets under pressure. Among the reasons were the escalating US-China trade war and other geopolitical fears, coupled with the volatility in commodity prices,” Innes told Bernama.
He said as the market welcomed the new year, there was no doubt that these factors would continue.
“But, we foresee a reduction in trade tensions between the US and China to be a positive indicator for the global market. The Federal Reserve’s decision to pause interest rate hikes until at least mid-2019 is good as it should weaken the dollar and that is also good for local bond and equity markets,” he added.
Among heavyweights, Maybank and Tenaga rose two sen each to RM9.45 and RM13.58 respectively, Public Bank was flat at RM24.88 and Petronas Chemicals fell nine sen to RM9.23.
Of actives, Hubline and Pansar were each flat at 4.5 sen and 80 sen respectively, Sapura Energy was up by one sen to 29.5 sen, with Bumi Armada half-a-sen weaker at 15.5 sen.
The FBM Emas Index gained 12.46 points to 11,549.76, the FBMT 100 Index increased 12.64 points to 11,467.22, the FBM Emas Shariah Index rose 5.93 points to 11,515.35 and the FBM Ace Index was 8.2 points better at 4,268.40.
The FBM 70 advanced 32.35 points to 13,123.87.
Sector-wise, the Finance Index inched up 19.63 points to 17,361.32, the Plantation Index went up 0.06 of-a-point to 6,897.80, but the Industrial Products and Services Index edged down 0.41 of-a-point to 166.40.
Gold futures contracts on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives were untraded in the early session today on lack of demand.
At 9.31 am, December 2018 and January 2019 were pegged at RM170.30 per gramme respectively, February 2019 stood at RM170.40 per gramme, while March 2019 was flat at RM170.50 per gramme.
Volume was nil, while open interest amounted to 26 contracts.
At 9.30 am, the price of physical gold was 30 sen lower at RM164.86 per gramme. — Bernama